A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Thanks for the Trouble is a teen romance with a fantasy twist by the author of We All Looked Up. An extended party scene has teens drinking to excess and an older teen providing champagne and expensive Scotch. There's some kissing, undressing, and getting into bed, followed by a mention that sex happened, but no sex is described. Parker's not much a role model at first, lacking in ambition and stealing things from hotel lobbies. Zelda helps open him up to possibilities, encourages his writing talent, and makes him want to be better. Suicide is an important theme, and an important character dies. Positive messages include how to move on from the past and appreciate the present by finding a balance between past, present, and future.
What's the story?
Parker Santé, 17, spends most of his time in hotel lobbies, waiting for someone to leave something behind so he can take it for himself. Ever since his father died, not only has Parker been unable to speak, he's also been aimless, drifting along without anything particular to live for. When a mysterious, silver-haired girl leaves behind a huge wad of cash, Parker picks it up and almost takes off with it. But something draws him back to Zelda, whose answers about herself only raise more questions. The two strike a bargain for their futures, with spending the big wad of cash serving as timekeeper. Will either of them find a reason to say THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE before the cash runs out?
Is it any good?
This intriguing romance brings fresh appeal to the boy-meets-girl story with a surprising fantasy twist. The framework of a college-application essay gives author Tommy Wallach (We All Looked Up) the opportunity to ask readers to decide for themselves whether to believe Parker’s story or not. It’s an engaging way to get older teens thinking about applying for college, letting go of the past, what to hope for in the future, and why people are worth taking the trouble to look at beneath the surface.
Narrator Parker is not easy to like at first, but as teens learn more about him, he becomes easy to relate to and root for. His original fairy tales blend the past and present and reinforce our understanding of Parker as a talented writer. Without an ounce of sap, this refreshing, modern, bittersweet love story will appeal to boys and girls alike.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about books and other media such as movies and TV programs that show underage drinking. Does Thanks for the Trouble glamorize drinking?
Is the use of strong language and profanity in Thanks for the Trouble realistic? How do you talk among friends? Are there words you avoid using? Why?
If you were in charge of college admissions, would you accept Parker based on his essay? Why, or why not? What do you think makes a good application essay?
- Author: Tommy Wallach
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: February 23, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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